IWU English major selected to present research at national conference

Indiana Wesleyan University senior and English Education major Krisandra Johnson was selected to present her capstone work at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research at the University of Central Oklahoma, which takes place April 4-7 in Edmond, Oklahoma.

Johnson’s capstone research is titled “A Blend of Absurdism and Humanism: Defending Kurt Vonnegut’s Place in the Secondary Setting.” In the paper, Johnson explores how Vonnegut’s characters often find themselves on philosophical journeys with big questions like “Who is God?” and “Why does war exist?” She goes on to assert that Vonnegut deserves to be in the secondary classroom.

“Teenagers often find themselves with deep questions that they can't always answer, much like Vonnegut's characters,” said Johnson, who is from Marion, Indiana. “However, Vonnegut doesn't leave the reader with absurdity. He pushes his readers to see a better humanity, and I believe teachers using Vonnegut's novels in the classroom can do the same.” 

Johnson applied to the conference in the fall of 2017 by submitting a detailed abstract of her research. She was one of several selected from about 4,000 applicants.

“It feels wonderful to have been selected for the NCUR,” said Johnson. “I spent every Friday of last semester in the library, researching Vonnegut and adolescent development; the opportunity to share my writing and discoveries with others makes those long afternoons worth it.” 

Johnson will graduate in April with a degree in English Education, after which she hopes to secure an English teaching position in Indianapolis.

“Krisandra is an excellent student who demonstrates a careful study of the English language and literature, and she does so with integrity, and she allows her faith to inform her art,” said Dr. Mary Alice Trent, chair, Division of Modern Language and Literature.

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